Prairie verbena

  • Verbena growing along Carl Andre's, Chinati Thirteener.
  • Prairie verbena close-up.
  • Prairie verbena close-up.

One of the Chihuahuan Desert’s most vibrant plants is the Glandularia bipinnatifida–now that’s a mouthful! Glandularia bipinnatifida is more commonly known as prairie verbena, desert verbena, or Dakota Mock Vervain. In Spanish, this lovely, low-to-the-ground plant is often referred to as Moradilla, meaning “little purple one.” Prairie verbena grows purple, pink, and lavender-colored flowers in clusters that form rounded tops to leafy stems. The plant’s leaves are hairy and it can have several branched stems. Prairie verbena, whose main bloom is in the spring and summer, can cover large swathes of land and grows throughout Texas. Prairie verbena, is not a true verbena and does not share the sweet fragrance of true verbenas such as lemon verbena. Nonetheless, this plant does have a smell. Described by some as having a” musty attic” smell when taken in isolation, the earthy flavor is pleasant outdoors.

Research wildflowers, grasses, or other plants native to where you live. What environmental conditions allow this plant to grow well in your state, region, or country? Does this plant face any threats to its existence? What conservation efforts can you or your state/country do to make sure this plant continues to thrive? Create an artistic public service announcement to encourage people to work toward conserving your plant. What form will your PSA take? A poster? A song? A poem or a story? Share widely!